The Dead Space (opens in new tab) remake takes us back to the USG Ishimura for the first time in twelve years to help Isaac Clarke survive the Necromorph infestation and get off the ship with all his limbs attached. A lot has changed since the original Dead Space launched in 2008, and so the game has been completely rebuilt in the Frostbite engine with improved visuals and audio.
It’s safe to say that this is also a narrative remake, with fleshed-out characters, dialogue, and side quests that add to the existing lore and help us understand what happened on the Ishimura before Isaac arrived. Add to that the new upgrade system, zero-G sequences and extra mechanics, and you’ve got a whole heap of new stuff to contend with. In this guide, I’ll run through the most notable new stuff that the Dead Space remake adds to the original.
If you didn’t play the original and want to avoid all spoilers for the remake, I’d recommend leaving now.
Bigger character roles and holographic logs
Dead Space gets a lot done in its ten-hour main story and with few characters at that, but the remake adds even more friendly and not-so-friendly faces to the Ishimura. People like Elizabeth Cross, who had a small role in the original game’s Hydroponics section, are now fully-fledged characters, and you can expect more interactions in the new Dead Space with a slightly different twist. Isaac Clarke actually talks with other characters now and it goes a long way to making him feel like more of a character. This is bolstered by holographic logs you can find throughout the ship that relay messages and play out important scenes.
Proper zero-G and redefined puzzles
The original game didn’t feature the free-floating zero-G of Dead Space 2 and Dead Space 3, but the remake does, and Motive has also redesigned the game’s old zero-G puzzles and boss fights. Even if you played the original, expect new challenging sequences and puzzles to pore over, whether it’s restarting the fuel centrifuge or repairing the Comms Array. There are also a number of free-floating zero-G sequences where you can explore areas at your own pace—save for suffocating from lack of oxygen, that is.
Security Clearance and random encounters
The Dead Space remake wants to encourage players to explore the ship and revisit older areas, and Security Clearance (opens in new tab) is a big part of that. These locked rooms and containers can only be opened once you’ve gained the correct clearance level during the main story, and contain valuable nodes, ammo, credits, or even weapon upgrades. Random encounters make revisiting older areas of the Ishimura a little spicier than before, too, since you’re likely to encounter a variety of enemy spawns and plenty of unnerving visual and audio cues.
Three new side quests
There are three new side quests to undertake on the USG Ishimura this time around. The first, Scientific Methods, focuses on Isaac tracking his partner, Nicole, and her activities onboard the ship. The second, Premeditated Malpractice, is all about Brant Harris— effectively patient zero for the Necromorph outbreak on the Ishimura. The final quest, You Are Not Authorised, has you searching the Ishimura for its senior Crew Rigs (opens in new tab) so you can get Master Override clearance and open crates containing some fancy loot.
New game plus and an alternate ending
After you finish Dead Space for the first time, you can now load into new game plus for an even tougher challenge. While you won’t keep your kinesis and stasis modules, you can collect your old weapons from storage, and purchase the special level six Soldier Rig, which unlocks extra suit upgrades. The true challenge of new game plus is the Phantom Enemies which are tougher variants of your run-of-the-mill Necromorphs. There are also twelve Marker Fragments (opens in new tab) hidden throughout the Ishimura that unlock access to an additional secret ending when you complete the game, though good luck finding them.
Better weapon upgrades and alt-fire modes
Many of the weapons from Dead Space have had their alt-fire modes tweaked to be more effective for obliterating Necromorphs. The Pulse Rifle’s alt-fire mode is now a proximity grenade launcher, the Line Gun lays down laser traps, and the Contact Beam fires a supercharged single shot called the Asteroid Cutter. Dead Space weapons (opens in new tab) have a new upgrade system as well, with special abilities and nodes that only become available when you find their corresponding upgrade by exploring the Ishimura. Most important of all, you don’t buy weapons anymore, but find them as you progress through the game.
Improved visuals, audio, and a ‘Necromorph peeling’ system
The Dead Space remake is just that; a new version of the original game rebuilt in the Frostbite engine, and that means new textures, animations, and enemy behaviour. Lighting and audio have also been brought up to the level of modern gaming sensibilities. One of the most notable additions is the horrific-sounding “Necromorph peeling” system, which is a visual representation of the damage you’re doing to Necromorphs as you shoot away their various fleshy bits. Considering the importance of limb-slicing in Dead Space, this is a handy mechanic that helps identify what to chop next. And if you’re less fond of all that peeling, there is a new graphic content warning system available.